Friends wrapped up nearly 20 years ago, and in that time a lot has changed. However, none of the former cast members have changed quite as much as baby Emma, who looks ‘completely unrecognizable’ two decades after making her Friends debut.
Friends is a timeless show that is still entertaining new – and old – audiences in 2023. The hit sitcom, which aired between 1994 and 2004, told the story of six twenty-somethings living in New York while traversing the pitfalls of modern-day life. The series catapulted David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, and Matt LeBlanc into superstardom. However, there were also many secondary characters who made their mark almost as much as the super six.
Baby Emma from Friends looks ‘completely unrecognizable’ 20 years after her debut
One of the stars of the later series was, of course, baby Emma. Emma was the somewhat accidental child of Ross and Rachel and first appeared in the nine and tenth seasons (between 2003 and 2004).
Interestingly, Emma was played by not one young actress, but two, as twins Noelle and Cali Sheldon each took their turn portraying the little one.
Fast forward two decades and Noelle and Cali Sheldon are all grown up (shock horror). Needless to say, it’s unsurprising they look a lot different from their days on the TV show, however, their transformation 20 years on is certainly one way of making Friends fans feel very old.
How the twins managed to get on Friends
You may be wondering how the twins got the enviable gig on Friends in the first place. Well, they got the Friends job after their mum read on a twin parenting blog that many film and TV productions seek out twins for acting jobs due to the time restraints on young actors.
Sadly, the twins were too young to remember being on the show (they were only about 1), but their parents tell them that all the stars of the sitcom were “really nice.”
Noelle previously told Bustle about playing Emma: “A lot of people in our school watch it, and most of them know we were in it, so they think that’s pretty cool.”
Mum Gretchen Sheldon added: “Everyone was really, really nice to Noelle and Cali, and treated them like little princesses on the set. [Friends] was filmed before a live audience, and Cali and Noelle would come out, and they would be waving and engaging with the live audience. It was a lot of fun.
What Noelle and Cali have gone on to do after Friends
After their stint on Friends, Noelle, and Cali both continued acting in small, supporting film and television roles. However, their first major role post-Friends came in 2019 when they were 16 after being cast in Jordan Peele’s psychological thriller flick, Us.
The film was his follow-up to his Oscar winner, Get Out, with Noelle and Cali playing Lindsey and Becca Tyler. They have also appeared in the pilot for the TV series Life, and are also credited on several film shorts, including Rougarou, Maxwell, Agorable, and Winne.
No matter what they go on to feature in, the girls are still extremely proud of their Friends roots and have shared pictures with references to their time on the show over the years.
In 2020, Noelle made a joke about episode four of season 10, which saw Chandler say “Hi Emma. It’s the year 2020. Are you still enjoying your nap?”
Noelle posted an edited photo of herself in Central Perk, holding up a Central Perk mug, writing: “Just woke up from the best nap of all time, happy 2020!! (ft. my poorly done photoshop.)
“Hope everyone has an excellent year full of family, friends, and laughter!!”
On the 25th anniversary of Friends, Cali also shared a photo of her as a baby being held by Jennifer Aniston on set:
The actresses graduated from high school in 2020 and are now studying at UCLA. Both have ‘UCLA 2024’ in their Instagram bio and appear to be proud members of the university.
They have shared snaps of them wearing UCLA sweatshirts and are set to graduate next summer.
Whether they continue acting or choose a different career path remains to be seen. However, one thing for certain is Noelle and Cali will forever be a part of TV – and Friends – history.